“Thats” vs “that’s”: Don’t ever get it wrong again with this easy rule

Sometimes, you might see the word “That’s” spelt with or without an apostrophe. But what is the difference between “Thats” vs “That’s”?

The only difference between “Thats” vs “That’s” is that “Thats” is not a real word. “That’s” is a shortening of “that is” or “that has”. Whereas “thats” is made up and fictional.

Rules of plural

To understand why this is the case, we need to look at what the apostrophe rules are. As is the case with “that’s”, it can be a contraction of two words. Other examples of this include can not becoming can’t, they will as they’ll, and should have as should’ve.

Another rule that you should follow when it comes to apostrophes is “possessive not plural”. I’ll say that again to make it clear “possessive not plural”.

Frederick’s house. Not- Fredericks house.

Two dogs. Not- Two dog’s.

When you have a word that ends in S, this could be natural or due to it being plural, but you want to make it possessive, you put the apostrophe after the S.

The Boy’s bathroom.

James’ house.

What does “that” mean?

Determiner

The most common usage of “that” is to point something out. Usually, this is done when the name is non-existent, can’t be remembered, or as a replacement for a pronoun.

“Pass me that green bowl”- the green bowl has no name.

“I like that new film with Ryan Gosling”- The speaker cannot remember the name of the new film.

That’s John by the door”- Rather than “He’s John”.

Relative clauses

It can also be used to connect two dependent clauses.

“She picked up the book that her mother had given her”.

Clauses

“That” can also be used as a way to connect clauses. To do this, you will need a verb, adjective, or noun clause + “that” + the other clause.

“I understood that question”- Verb.

I’m annoyed that you did that”- Adjective.

“It shows a lot of bravery doing that“- Noun.

When used in this way, the sentence will usually be about something in the mind. a question, an emotion, or a characteristic. Something you can’t physically pick up.

Examples of how to use “that’s” in a sentence

“That’s” can be a contradiction of “That is”.

“You’ll do that for me? That’s great!”

“That’s a bit sad to be honest.”

“That’s pretty good”.

“I like that. That’s good”.

It can also be another way of saying “That has”.

“That’s been the best day ever so far!”

“That’s been the worst thing ever”.

“That’s been pretty good”.

“That’s no need to be in my house”.

As we can see, no matter the context, you will never spell it as “thats”.

Other contradictions that include the word “that’s” include “that’ll” a contraction of that will.

“That’ll do Donkey. That’ll do”.

“That’ll be £4.50 please”.

Why can’t “that’s” ever be plural?

As we mentioned earlier, you should not use an apostrophe to show plurals. But why can’t “that” ever be plural?

That isn’t a noun, you would never say “I will have one that. Whereas my wife will have two that”.

Instead, you would say, “I will have one of that. My wife will have two of that”.

You can’t physically pick up a “that”.

Why do we say “two of that?” instead of “two thats?”. The truth is, I’m not too sure, perhaps we’ll be exploring that in another article.

Conclusion: thats vs that’s

The only difference between “that’s” and “thats” is that “thats” is not a real word. I would like to apologise to anyone who clicked on this article hoping to find a lengthy description of the differences.

I hope now you have a better understanding of what “that” means, and when you should and shouldn’t use the apostrophe.